December 30, 2011

Amending the calendar

Residents of Samoa will go to bed tonight and irrevocably lose an entire day, and it won't be due to collective debauchery or general drunkenness.

No, Samoa is sensibly aligning their days and times with us and our first cousins, all the better to do business.


It will be December 29 when they go to bed and Saturday December 31 when they awaken - meaning they'll skip Friday forever.

This neat bit of time travel is the result of a very contemporary concern: trade and economic relations with Pacific neighbours Australia and New Zealand, who are nearly a day ahead on the clock.

Now, with the disappearance of Friday, Samoa will shift west of the international dateline and share the same date and time as its two key partners.

Explained Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, "In doing business (now) with New Zealand and Australia we're losing out on two working days a week," The (London) Times reported.

"While it's Friday here, it's Saturday in New Zealand and when we're at church Sunday, they're already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane."

Actually, this won't be the first time switch for Samoa, a nation of 180,000 about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii and once the home of Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Kidnapped and Treasure Island.

Samoa and neighboring American Samoa lay west of the dateline until 1892, when an American trader lobbied to switch to the east on the grounds it would be more convenient for trading ships. The result was two July 4s that year.

Now Samoa -- but not American Samoa -- will switch back, raising the slightly unsettling opportunity of celebrating one's birthday on the same date but on separate days after a plane flight of less than an hour.

As for business owners, Friday will be very much a lost day -- they are required to pay workers for a day that doesn't exist. However, hotel guests won't have to pay for an extra night.

Duck Friday

Happy New Year

December 28, 2011

Digital darkness

I found time to do ironing yesterday, and washing of the kitchen floor.

On the eve of Christmas (or Xams, as iJustin prefers), my trusty dirt cheap second hand computer suffered a fatal hard drive problem, from which no amount of CPR elicited resurrection. When your hard drive makes gurgly and screeching noises, you know you’re in serious trouble.

When system restore insists there’s no good config from which to restore, you start to sweat a little.

When the operating disk to do a rebuild chugs along from process to process, before declaring – in effect – “sorry, can no do, your hard drive is fucked”, you sweat, shake and shrug.

Nearly eight years of trusty service, not rebuild once in that time; never touched, other than adding a bit of ram about seven years ago - can't complain really, although I'd very much like to.

So, if things are awfully quiet around here (in the public and private domains), for quite some time, you’ll understand why.

Resumption of normal transmissions is in search of a target date.

Meanwhile, I have found time to do mundane things that ordinarily escape my interest.

Maybe on the weekend I’ll trot around the local park and initiate pleasant conversations with strangers.

Wednesday Wisdom

Do your damnedest in an ostentatious manner all the time. 

General George Patton

December 23, 2011

December 21, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience. 

George Bernard Shaw

December 19, 2011

Real history will see Gillard and Abbott gone - and damned

... there’s a belief that Tony Abbott is popular in the suburbs and regions; that his everyman no-nonsense conservatism goes down well with real, everyday, average etc Australians.

There’s a more general belief among politics watchers that a politician, particularly an opposition leader, must personally “connect” with key parts of the electorate. It’s rubbish; just think of most successful politicians.

In particular—I kid you not—Mark’s ridgy-didge persona was supposed to go down well in Queensland, another demographic at a desperate ebb for the party. But on election day both these swung by larger than average to the Howard government.

Abbott is like Latham in that he is the observer’s idea of what works in politics. A real Australian, who could resist a story like that?
But Latham was much more popular. It tends to be forgotten he was at the time the most approved of federal opposition leader in polling history, which means since approval/satisfaction ratings began to be measured in the 1960s.
Latham peaked at 66 per cent satisfied in Newspoll and the last Newspoll of the 2004 campaign registered a healthy 54 per cent. Abbott’s “peak” was 44 in February last year and his most recent one was 33. 

But Latham was difficult to vote for. Like Abbott is.

... Tony’s popularity among some elites and the party faithful is not replicated in the general community.
And like Julia Gillard he probably won’t be leading his party at the next election.

Pollies have taken to a new morally loaded phrase (particularly the ALP and the Greens):  it's the ludicrous predication of "being on the right side of history" - used as an admonishment, a sanctimonious threat or judgment upon anyone who disagrees with their policies -  as if any of us, let alone politicians, have a crystal ball or have a say in determining what history writes.

The only history we can be sure of, before it's written, is that Gillard and Abbott are a shocking stain on Australian Federal politics, and this will go down as one of the most damaging policy periods we have ever seen.  The mess will take a massive effort - possibly decades - to undo.  

The only other bit of history, not yet written:  neither Gillard nor Abbott will front the next election in the capacity of leaders of their respective parties.  They will be recorded as the most uninspiring, least intellectually and morally capable, and most disliked leaders we have had the misfortune to endure.  (Predication:  when they are both gone, expect lots of journalists to tap into their retrospective wisdom to write, at length, exactly that.)

Is Abbott popular?

Keating: Twenty Years Ago Today

Although some suggest that Keating may not want the attention and is not seeking to bask in the glory of the past, Brereton says, "drawing down on the vital legacy of our movement is something that we should always do."

But on Monday's anniversary, the Labor Party will be holding a trivia night at the Trades Hall in Sydney. 
A trivia night?  Yep.  Sounds about right for the Labor Party (or Liberals, or Greens) of 2011.

Hawke and Keating - 1991

No party for the prime minister who mattered

December 16, 2011


Everyone from god downwards sent their thoughts, love, prayers and wishes to Molly (Meldrum) during the last 24 hours.  I think Michael Chugg did too, in his own way:

"I was peaking to (UK promoter) Harvey Goldsmith in London" he told ABC radio in Melbourne  "... and they're just mortified, you know it's gone around the world".

Paper cut upsets little states

The never ending catalog of misplaced human outrage:

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPCD) has cancelled their subscriptions to newspapers from everywhere other than London, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

Yes, let's get all huffy about the PMs own department's lack of interest in the rest of Australia.

Let's not be outraged at:

- cost savings: $9569

- continued spend on hard copy papers and journals: $103,252.

All newspaper articles, bar the pay wall content of the Financial Review and The Australian and most journals, are available, for free, online.
Liberal Senator Scott Ryan, who sought the information, said it showed Ms Gillard's department was not interested in life beyond the southeast states.

"I really think she (Ms Gillard) would be better served learning about the issues that affect Queenslanders and getting her head out of the London papers," he said.
No Senator, both she (Gillard) and you would be better served noticing that the paltry sum saved is meaningless and the amount still being spent on newspapers by DPMC is, in this day, unjustifiable; ditto any other government entity.

Get huffy about something that matters, for goodness sake.

Gillard's department cancels subscriptions


Christopher Hitchens, gone - December, 2011
His vision of earthly bliss: "To be vindicated in my own lifetime."

His ideal way to die: "Fully conscious, and either fighting or reciting (or fooling around)."

Duck Friday

December 14, 2011

Karl Lagerfeld is a small, annoying cock

Last week in Paris at a long table laid for high tea with a maharajah, around which the world's most expensive and expensively dressed models paraded in his latest collection, [Karl Lagerfeld] cast himself as the Queen of Hearts, pronouncing he was inspired by India because ''even the poor have dignity there''.

With Wonderland logic, he explained that this was evidenced by the fact that in India ''even poor women own three gold bracelets''.

Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel -Photo: AFP
Even by his prolific standards, it was a vintage week for Lagerfeldisms. The designer delighted in telling reporters that he had never actually been to India.

''Fantasy is often better than reality,'' he explained. ''It's much more inspiring not to go to places than to go.'' A sentiment with which the Mad Hatter would probably agree.

Wednesday Wisdom

Fear of the neighbours has driven aggression for 50,000 years.  Internal and international conflict remains essentially tribal. Fear of the "other", the people who aren't us, is at the heart of conflicts between civilisations and between factions in the ALP. 

Phillip Adams (2011)

December 11, 2011

Toys R Us

When Julia Gillard said "We are us" in her speech to Labor's national conference on the weekend, most thinking people assumed she had lost the plot. Other than as an exercise in pop banality, it made no sense. 

But perhaps it was a coded message to the furious rosy-cheeked man in the front row: We are us, Kevin, and you're not. Get over it.  
She really said that? 

She's actually the Prime Minister? 

(*Rubs eyes; shakes head*)

For Rudd there's no me in we

December 9, 2011

Another wrong inquiry

Back in July, my brief foaming at the mouth rant about the tawdry corrupt tender process for the Australian overseas broadcasting service - Australia Network - elicited little to no interest from my small but adored readership.  

I'm still foaming, and can't believe how little the public care about yet another truly gobsmacking ALP perversion of governance.

And those who do care, a tiny bit (you know, the bogans in Frankston), hold a sturdy and misguided belief that this thing should never have gone to tender, should always be handed on a platter to the ABC as an expensive sheltered workshop for a select group of journalists (and old re-runs, as it turns out; although that might be a tautology).  I assume, those people also believe the lie of "the leak" offered by the Gillard Government for aborting TWO tender processes, both of which recommended Sky News as the preferred supplier on an objectively assessed value for money basis.  TWICE.

Oddly, the ABC managers, approaching ministers to discuss the tender while in progress - an action that should be sufficient to disqualify the tenderer - isn't cited by the government as one of numerous corrupt episodes.  

The only clean player in this has been the evil empire - the hate media - the Murdoch owned Sky News.  

The federal police are now in search of the leaker, and the auditor general will also inquire into all the wrong things.  

White washing the Gillard Government is becoming a full blown industry.

This, from Graham Richardson:
To hear the PM at a press conference telling us that the tender process had been compromised by leaks was just plain embarrassing.

Everyone knows that the only leaks have been about who won the tender not about the details of the tender themselves. Sky News won and she and Conroy just wouldn't accept it.

An independent panel was set up to examine the documents and the next leak was that they had recommended Sky News - again. It wasn't the process the government didn't like. It was the leaking of who had won - because it was the wrong winner. The police were called in and the Auditor-General decided to have a look as well.

With two investigations under way, ministers raced to find microphones to say no decision would be made until inquiries were completed.

Then bang, out of the blue, the declaration of the loser coming out on top was made.

The investigations are continuing but obviously their findings could not be allowed to interfere with the predetermined announcement. If the Auditor-General finds the ABC comprehensively lost, the PM and Conroy will look ridiculous.

Social Network 2

Ever wondered what a post-apocalypse Facebook-free world would look like?

Coming to a theatre near Somewhere ... Social Network 2.

Duck Friday

December 7, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

As we have seen, great earthquakes, forest fires and mass extinctions are all merely the expected large fluctuations that arise universally in nonequilibrium systems. To avoid them, one would have to alter the laws of nature.

Mark Buchanan

December 4, 2011

Revisiting Turnbull's limitations

Malcolm Turnbull isn't nearly as bright in politics as he was in the private sector.  It's not, as Sheridan argues, that he seems incapable of taking the longer view, it's that he clearly has no friggin' idea what he's talking about - yet persists anyway:  good for him!  At least he can do no harm, and never will - unlike Abbott and Gillard.

It's irrelevant that these observations are made in relation to China (the current PM is useless in international matters, ditto Abbott); no, it's not foreign affairs that matter here, it's the halo of gullibility and superficial knowledge that bothers.  If Turnbull can be this dumb about China, and the Asia Pacific and America and Australia, it's only dumb luck that he hasn't appeared to be this stupid about everything else (although he's a fan of Tim Flannery & co ... that should have been the canary gasping, but we didn't notice).
Malcolm Turnbull has delivered two important speeches on China that help explain why he was such a disastrous Liberal leader and why he should never be considered for the leadership again.
 Turnbull is overestimated intellectually - all at sea on चाइना

December 3, 2011

Who has the sourer grapes?

Rudd is a vengeful, vain man; we know that, but he has, this past year, popped up all over the place with a large grin and a remarkably happy disposition.

Gillard, on the other hand, fronted the ALP conference yesterday, giving an banal (as usual) speech (although Rudd, as PM, was guilty of the same sin; remember his droning acceptance speech, the night he beat Howard?), mentioning every former Labor Prime Minister - except for Rudd.

Bitch?  Ungracious?  Sour grapes?

All of that, and likely more.

Some time during the last 18 months, Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia, has utterly forgotten that the ONLY reason she is PM - albeit, a deeply loathed and appalling one - is because one Kevin Rudd convincingly defeated one John Howard.

Grace in losing is admirable, but grace in winning is a great deal more important*.  Surely an ALP lackey (or the sycophantic Bill Shorten) could have explained this before Gillard got on a stage and showed everyone the size of her bowl of sour grapes.

*Although it's still difficult to grasp what it is, really, that Gillard has won; certainly, for the rest of us the community - the loses under her rule mount day by day.

November 30, 2011


Wednesday Wisdom

It always seemed strange to me that the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, aquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second.

John Steinbeck

November 26, 2011

Peer reviewed - Climate forecasts exaggerated

It's a relief to see real science being reported - not politicians frowning with deep concern and intoning as if they have a clue, nor a single claim to "consensus" - just good old fashioned peer reviewed research:
Dramatic forecasts of global warming resulting from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide have been exaggerated, according to a peer-reviewed study by a team of international researchers.
In the study, published today in the leading journal Science, the researchers found that while rising levels of CO2 would cause climate change, the most severe predictions - some of which were adopted by the UN's peak climate body in its seminal 2007 report - had been significantly overstated.
The authors used a novel approach based on modelling the effects of reduced CO2 levels on climate, which they compared with proxy-records of conditions during the last glaciation, to infer the effects of doubling CO2 levels.
They concluded that current worst-case scenarios for global warming were exaggerated.
"Now these very large changes (predicted for the coming decades) can be ruled out, and we have some room to breathe and time to figure out solutions to the problem," the study's lead author, Andreas Schmittner, an associate professor at Oregon State University, said.
Actually that's not a "novel" approach at all, but the statement merely illustrates how dumb journalists and the rest of us have become, how accustomed to glib statements and insults, in place of actual science.  Their method is closer to a null hypothesis approach - you know, the approach science used to take, until the religion of climate change came along, then half-arsed consensus was suddenly anointed the fully-funded gold standard, preferably if accompanied by abuse of non-believers, stern looks and occasional tears.

Review fails to support climate change link

November 25, 2011

November 24, 2011

Bronwyn Bishop finds something to do!

Liberals MPs Kelly O’Dwyer (a director of Bowls Australia) and Seniors spokeswoman Bronwyn Bishop tabled a petition with over 37,000 signatures yesterday calling for the ABC to bring bowls back Australian TV screens. The pair are accusing Auntie of breaching its own charter by scrapping bowls coverage.

It's time to throw our support behind angry lawn bowlers and bowling fans; they deserve to have their viewing time restored, and I figure it only costs each of us a few cents a year, which is worth it to know that the happiness of bowlers and their followers is restored.

You can sign the petition here

November 23, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

The history of our race, and each individual’s experience, are sown thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal.
Mark Twain

November 22, 2011

140 more laws and counting

The Gillard government might (ok - does) suck, but unfortunately they're a whiz at passing new and revised laws.
''No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session,'' wrote a 19th century lawyer. 

The fewer sitting days the better. The father of liberalism, John Locke, argued that while parliament was better than monarchy, parliamentarians need to be restrained. One way was to limit how often they sat."
The less parliament sits, the better off we all will be 

November 21, 2011


The Age online poll question:

Is Australia doing enough to maintain good relations with China?

Majority say no.

How did it get to this? 

When did we become the country that feels an burning need to be aligned with China; a large Communist country whose rulers don't and never will give a rat's arse about *upsetting* Australia.  You never see those guys hand-wringing over the allure, or not, of their actions to the rest of the world. 

Meanwhile, the Indonesian President has suggested that, to appease communists, Australia should invite Chinese military to conduct exercises with US and Australian forces.  This would "defuse tensions".

Funny: I wasn't at all tense until everyone got the vapors about China's itty bitty feelings.

God bless America.

Invite China's army - Jakarta

I'm confused

European drink makers have been banned from claiming water can prevent dehydration.

WU officials in Brussels have said that a three year investigation found no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

Companies making the claim for hydration will face a two year jail sentence.

Pass the gin and tonic.

November 18, 2011

November 16, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

It is humbling to discover how many of our glib assumptions, which seem to us novel and plausible, have been tested before, not once but many times and in innumerable guises; and discovered to be, at great human cost, wholly false.

Paul Johnson

November 15, 2011

A global shift on the pivot

Guest post from Geoffff:

Something dramatic has happened in the world. At a strategic level it probably means little because the underlying event had already happened and anyone with an uncluttered mind had seen it coming long ago. However in the world of ideas and culture clashes, not to mention the party chat of the profound and stupid everywhere, it is an earthquake. The slow sneak up event of the year. Perhaps the decade. It is also really really scary.

The Palestinians have abandoned even the pretense of a two state solution and Condoleezza Rice has exposed the breathtaking scope and audacity of their bad faith.  They are now out with it. No Jewish state. They had no choice really. They were offered everything and more. All but a few percent of Judea and Samaria with land swaps for that, a deal on Jerusalem which made it a shared capital, a multi billion dollar Norwegian administered fund for the benefit of the “refugees”, (can you believe this stuff? refugees from 1948? nothing for the Jewish refugees from Arab countries of course who ended up in Israel), some people taken back.  Everything they could possibly conceivably want and so far more than what was reasonable it is on a different planet.

They simply could not take “yes” for an answer. They were cornered so they said “no”.  They demand an unlimited Arab “right of return” and they say seven million people around the place and abroad are eligible. That means no Jewish state. It means no state at all really if it doesn’t have sovereignty over its borders.

We should have seen it coming with the Hamas Fatah shotgun wedding.  The optimists thought the “moderates” might wean Hamas from their violent genocidal ways. They must have known in their hearts that the opposite was true but as is so often the case with Palestine is was just easier to think that.

Certainly it was obvious from the Abbas UN speech and more to the point the open speech to the American Palestinians that immediately preceded it.
On Friday afternoon, Abbas said he was adamant about not recognizing Israel as the Jewish state.

"They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state," Abbas said in a meeting with some 200 senior representatives of the Palestinian community in the US, shortly before taking the podium and delivering a speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

All those silly wet left/liberals who have deluded themselves that the Palestinians were not serious about this (“well they couldn’t be could they? it would mean the destruction of Israel.”) will now, if they are honest, dwell on the consequences of being so badly wrong for so long. They can no longer occupy the space that assumed the Palestinians were acting in good faith. They cannot. They will look like 9/11 truthers or worse. They will have to shift position.

They will have to accept the gut wrenching move that Israel was not the principal obstacle to peace in the Middle East after all. They will have to turn on their beloved Palestinians and ask the question are these men helping or harming their people and therefore are we helping or harming their people by helping them. Or they can conclude they never believed in the Jewish state themselves really and that in any event the best solution is to rob the Jews of their democratic state and deliver the survivors to dhimmitude and say so just like the Palestinians.

Either that or can they abandon all pretense of honesty and good faith. Just like the Palestinians.

November 9, 2011

Canberra Shock: one sensible man; one sensible policy idea

Once again asylum-seekers have met unnecessary deaths at sea. People smugglers are to blame.
We need to break their business plan by offering, for a similar price, a safe passage to Australia by air. Why doesn't the Government license an agency that will do just that?

The agency would operate wherever people smugglers are to be found. The stream of asylum-seekers would end up in the same place as if they came by boat, eg, on-shore detention. 

They would comprise a small additional stream to that now arriving by air and could be in lieu of part of that much larger stream. Presently asylum-seekers arriving by air are virtually ignored. Australians seem to tolerate them because they are processed before entry.

The cost to government of implementing this idea would be much less than any alternative. There need be no increase in the total number of asylum-seekers. The smugglers will be run out of business and the drowning will stop.

Peter Carden, Hughes
Letters - Canberra Times, November 04, 2011  

Baggage handler still not guilty

Schapelle Corby is still guilty.

Nothing has changed since the boogie board was unzipped at the Bali airport more than six years ago.

Now someone has written a book to explain, at length, everything we already knew. 

At the end of the book, I predict that Corby will still be guilty.

I also predict that Corby will spend the rest of her life being shrill and furious at having been caught.

The End

Sins of the father

They won't follow her, follow her, follow her

Julia Gillard's introduction of a carbon tax has been praised at the latest economic summit for showing the way on climate change but Australia is being isolated within the G20 on carbon pricing as members retreat due to changing priorities and economic pressure.
And the prices within the Emission Trading Scheme in Europe continue to crash and burn; that would be the only ETS that will be available (will it still exist?) when the artificially high fixed price of Australian CO2 emission meets and greets the free market, in only a couple of years.
While Australia is pursuing the most comprehensive carbon tax in the world to combat the effects of climate change, other G20 members are retreating from emissions trading schemes to cut greenhouse gas emissions, such as Canada, while others are giving greater emphasis to dealing with the immediate effects of climate change.

"I think the leadership of Australia should be acknowledged but it's not going to be a case of follow the leader."

The business leaders attending the G20 summit in Cannes - the B20 - recommended support for action on climate change but stopped short of recommending carbon pricing, suggesting that helping developing nations with clean energy and carbon emissions control were also necessary.
Gillard on her own on carbon tax

Collapse of carbon price in Europe

Wednesday Wisdom

He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.

Paul Keating

November 8, 2011

Inquiry to stop public buying Murdoch papers commences

Now that our hyper-powers-that-be have all figured out that Murdoch does not own 70 per cent of print media in this country, everyone is being hyper-pedantic so as to be able to continue quoting the 70 per cent figure without - you know, LYING.

It's an extraordinary deception, one which our inadequate media is yet to bang on about; is yet to hold politicians to account; the latter, supposedly being their core job.
High-profile Melbourne academic Robert Manne, author of a highly critical Quarterly Essay article focusing on The Australian’s political coverage, told the inquiry it was indefensible that "that one company owns 70 per cent of print circulation’’.

 "I think that would be regarded in the English-speaking world as laughable,’’ he said, arguing that the group should be broken up.
That's right, Manne, along with Bob Brown, no doubt, can't figure out how to stop so many people purchasing, on average, 70 per cent of their print media of choice.  They have a genuine belief that 32 per cent ownership - as opposed to circulation, that is, members of the public choosing to purchase particular newspapers - warrants a monopoly, or presents limited choice, and a legal business entity should, therefore, be torn apart.

That is distorted, biased, immoral use of the political process.

Unbelievably, within this context, Manne is opposed to further statutory limits on "freedom", but he didn't go to the trouble or specifying "freedom" - of what ... speech, running a multinational business? 
"The owner (Rupert Murdoch) is a highly political animal,’’ he said, adding his newspaper editors were well aware of the proprietor’s views.

 Professor Manne was, however, cool on the idea of sweeping regulatory reform for the newspaper industry. Fines for breaches of industry codes would be a ‘‘waste of time’’. More productive change would be the capacity for the Press Council to force corrections ‘‘with sufficient prominence’’ when newspapers made factual errors.

"I would be worried about further statutory limits on freedom,’’ Professor Manne said.
It is also, as we've come to understand it, c/o Bob Brown, the ALP, and this inquiry, highly questionable as to what constitutes "factual errors". 

Manne makes a good fist of presenting himself as an almost reasonable man, while being utterly manipulative and deceptive.  For an academic, it's not a good look.

Murdoch papers accused of bias as media inquiry opens

November 5, 2011

Lies about Murdoch and the murky Greens

The Murdoch Media Inquiry, bludgeoned into existence by the Australian Greens, albeit, Gillard and her woeful government was an eager bride, is at least partly driven by a lie.
Remember the figure, the concentration of Murdoch's power?  
He, or News Ltd, of which he is the majority sharedholder, to be more accurate, supposedly owns - and therefore influences the editorial content of - 70 per cent of Australian newspapers.  We know this because Bob Brown has banged on and on and on about it.  It was a figure he used repeatedly when lobbying for an expensive and unnecessary media inquiry.  
That figure is a lie.  It's not even close to being true. 
Murdoch's company only publishes 32 per cent of all Australian newspapers. 
Yes.  Really.  No lie. 
''There is clearly a problem with media diversity in Australia. We have some of the greatest concentration of media ownership in the world, notably of course in the fact that News Limited owns some 70 per cent of the print media.
News rejects the often-quoted 70 per cent ownership figure. It says it publishes 32 per cent of all Australia's newspapers. Parliamentary library figures suggest News's share of circulation - as distinct from ownership - is 68 per cent in the capital cities and 77 per cent of the Sunday market.
Senator Brown, whose attack on News coincides with a visit to Australia by Rupert Murdoch, proposes the Finkelstein inquiry consider a new fit-and-proper-person test for newspaper ownership ...
He also proposes the introduction of new tax breaks for not-for-profit journalism enterprises to encourage quality journalism providing ''a platform for more media voices, particularly in investigative and in-depth journalism''.
Senator Brown argues encouraging philanthropic journalism would enhance diversity and independence.

The murky and amateurish political ploys of the Australian Greens, led by the persistently devious Bob Brown, continue to astound.  

They've only just completed ruining one executive bureaucrat's career, and now they're putting forward another - in a long line of many - absurdist policy proposal, the only person so far identified as being a beneficiary being their major donor during the last election - that person having made the largest single political donation in Australian history. 

After 17 years in parliament, Bob Brown still has no scientific or environmental qualifications, and nor, apparently, has he acquired any knowledge of democracy or the Australian parliamentary system.   

Power, lies, corruption.  He knows that stuff. He also gets away with it.  Every time. 

Apart from being such a stupid, economically and socially ill conceived policy proposal that I could scream, the philanthropic journalism notion wasn't Brown's idea; it's an idea given to him, and that's another murky story -  a retired judge, and now journalism professor, Dr Ricketson, was one of the signatories to the idea sent to Bob Brown only weeks before Ricketson was appointed to assist the media inquiry.

Ricketson is claiming he has no conflict of interest. 

Bob Brown has not claimed any such thing for himself.  He never does. 

November 2, 2011

Police Occupy John.G.Martin's street

Police Occupy John.G.Martin's street while cleaning up Squatting Occupiers (try saying that when you're had a few).
Drunka, unlike the rest of us, doesn't have to pilfer his news from real news sources; he just has to sit at home waiting, and, in due course, if he feels sufficiently alerted, look out the window - and there it is, news unfolding, as he scratches his testicles. 

There they were, Occupy Denver refugees, squatting in his street, being arrested in his street!

And the lies told by others ... told despite having videoed, despite having the visual replay, of the drama.  Fascinating.

Full piece over at Drunkablog's .... lots more pictures too - Occupy My Street.

A whole pile of reasons why Andrew Bolt is sometimes ok and Paul Ehrlich isn't

What makes us so hungry to be told we're doomed, even by people we should mock? Especially by. Take Paul Ehrlich. 

Actually, it's a miracle he's dropped in on us, since by his past predictions he should be half-starved and short of petrol for his wooden jet.

Yet this professor of population studies at Stanford University is among us again, well-fed and cheerfully predicting some fresh apocalypse, this time involving global warming.

But why are the ABC and University of NSW so keen to hear from him again?

A butterfly specialist, Ehrlich started his bizarre career of doomsaying in 1968 with his best-selling book The Population Bomb.

"The battle to feed humanity is over," he declared.

"In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate ..."

The very opposite of what happened.

This mass starvation would be visited on even the richest countries, Ehrlich explained in a 1971 lecture.
"By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people.
In 1990, for instance, he received a Swedish Royal Academy of Science prize and the MacArthur Foundation's $345,000 "genius award" for promoting a "greater public understanding of environmental problems", proving you will be forgiven any wild mistake or exaggeration in a "good" cause.

That explains Tim Flannery, Al Gore and David Suzuki, all made rich by predicting our doom to the teacher-preacher class, which likes to think it can see what the masses can't, and likes even more an excuse to control that mob's more unruly appetites.

Yet here he is again, bobbing up on the ABC's Science Show for a chat with presenter Robyn Williams, who himself preposterously predicted that global warming could cause the seas to rise by as much as 100m this century.

Only in one area do we seem to have gone backwards. We seem more irrational these days, and for this Ehrlich for once has the evidence.

Of courses, Ehrlich is hardly the only purveyor of human induced Armageddon, nor the only one to have it so woefully wrong.  In the past, however, crystal ball gazing passed-off as science simply didn't have the political, economic, social and global consequences of the modern day doom-porn promoters. 

All aflutter with continuing toxic predictions of global catastrophe 

Wednesday Wisdom

He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.

William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

November 1, 2011

If Shakespeare didn't, who did?

1. Not a single manuscript has been found in William Shakespeare's handwriting. Not even notes or correspondence.

2. Shakespeare was born to illiterate parents, and both of his children were also illiterate.

3. Shakespeare was not a member of the upper class, but wrote extensively about them with great insight.

4. The only examples of Shakespeare's handwriting are six very shaky signatures.

5. Not one of Shakespeare's poems or plays reflects an actual event in his life, including the death of his son.

6. There is no record of Shakespeare receiving any schooling, yet his level of knowledge of science and humanities is extensive.

7. Once he retired to Stratford-upon-Avon in his late forties, Shakespeare never wrote again.

8. Despite no indication that Shakespeare left England, his work exhibits an intimate knowledge of Italy.

9. The Stratford monument used to celebrate Shakespeare with a sack of grain rather than a quill.

10. Will's will makes no mention of his literary works, but does leave his second best bed as a legacy.

Was Shakespeare a fraud? 

October 27, 2011

Overland done over

Former  Victorian Chief Commissioner of Police, Simon Overland, was accused, pillared, generally insulted, tarred and  feathered, and lost his job.

He was especially and specifically smeared for referring matters relating to Sir Ken Jones to the Office of Police Integrity (OPI) for investigation.

Turns out every son of bitch commentator was wrong, except for Overland.  The bastards really were out to get him, and the story has more political intrigue and stupidity than could have been invented.

Ken Jones, who has, all along, been presented as some sort of saint, continues to insist that he is a saint, despite conspiring to boot Overland and take his place - his apparent defense is that he thought he was legitimately and actually dealing with the government, 'cause that would have been ok.  Turns out he was mostly dealing with a power drunk Tristan Weston, a detective on leave working in the Police Minister's office as a special adviser. 

Special adviser's secret talks with Ken Jones 

Ken Jones is "very disappointed with the negative construction" ... yeah, right.

Ken Jone's statement in response to the release of the OPI report 

October 26, 2011

Le long

The l'Academie nationale de chirurgie, established in 1731, is alarmed by the rise in penis enlargement surgeries in France, so have published a handy-dandy guide, in the hope that men who might otherwise consider the artificial enhancement option come to their senses when they see that they do, in fact, measure up without assistance.
A "normal" penis should be between 9 and 9.5 centimetres (3.5 to 3.7 inches) when flaccid and between 12.8 and 14.5 centimetres (5 to 5.7 inches) when erect.

When it comes to girth, the average circumference is between 8.5 and 9 centimetres (3.3 to 3.5 inches) "at rest" and between 10 and 10.5 centimetres (3.9 to 4.1 inches) when "standing to attention."
The UK Sun editors did not have a hard time writing up this story, and even included an appropriately sized measuring tool.

While the French reports played a straight bat, and were, therefore, dignified.

Wednesday Wisdom

Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour.
Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's

Abraham Lincoln

October 25, 2011

Tim Flannery: can someone get the guy a compass

Does anyone understand Tim Flannery's moral foundations, his bearings?  

Does he?

Does he have any?

Flannery is vigorously on the side of backs coal-seam gas and mining industry, and is warning of "social dislocation" across the country if farmers don't play nice with the mining industry.

And this:
"I went around talking to farmers who told me tales of woe about coal-seam methane companies whose representatives were leaving gates open on their properties, leaving trenches open, knocking down fences and basically making it impossible for them to run their businesses," he said.

"They saw the whole industry tarred, and I think that is a dangerous and damaging thing."

Seriosuly! WTF?

Does he think before speaking, at all?

Tim Flannery backs coal seam gas and mining industry

October 24, 2011


The Global Retail Theft Barometer 2011 has found that cheese is the most stolen food item in the world, based on a survey of 1,187 retailers in 43 countries.

The study found that one of the reasons cheese is a frequent target for thieves is that it comes in “small, mobile formats that make it easy to conceal by thieves.”   Which only especially makes sense if the cheese of choice is the little soft triangles, made for kiddies.  

Cheese doesn't come in smaller or more mobile formats than, say - chocolate, or nuts, or 250 grams of shaved double smoked ham.

I once read that the most stolen item in Italy is Parmesan (or was it mozzarella?), which made sense (good Parmesan is expensive). 

In the past I've read, more than once, that razors are amongst the most frequently stolen items (perhaps it's still top of the list for stolen non-food items). 

But when it comes to food, according to the retail research, four per cent of the world's cheese ends up stolen.  

Who are the people stealing the cheese?

October 23, 2011

Less than 1 per cent of companies hold 40 per cent of world's wealth

If you think that 40 per cent of the world's wealth being concentrated in only 147 companies is ok, then you'll never need lose sleep over how pathetically powerless you are over your financial well-being and security. The great moral challenge of our times, the great inter-generational crime, is not life-essential carbon dioxide, it's the obscene concentration of wealth in the hands of so few, who answer to no one but each other.

If you think 147 companies sounds like a lot, think again.  The database used by the Zurich team contained details of about 37 million companies, which was reduced down to a 43 thousand or so trans-nationals, then whittled down a bit more, until the magic 147 surfaced.

Think of 147 men, 147 CEOs (and yes, it's likely they're all men, because men make up only 49 per cent of the population; that's why they invariably run the world and hold pretty much 100% of the power) - think of those 147 being bankers or in some other arm of the finance industry:  yes, the banks, the finance industry, which produce absolutely nothing, really do run the world.

Things are likely worse now, as the data used for this study was from 2007, when the GFC hadn't yet concentrated wealth in even fewer hands.  Albeit, less wealth in real dollars, since 20 years worth of  growth was wiped out during the GFC.  If you read yesterday's paper, you'd have noticed that the elderly in Australia are staying in or returning to work:  the $460B the government insisted they stash away for a self-funded retirement has all but vanished.  (Which is why the current government is going to make us put even more of our money into mandatory super - so the finance industry can roll around like pigs in mud, regardless of whether our money is lost and retirement becomes a fantasy.)

Oddly, the study has only made the top 50 companies public.  Perhaps they ran out of funding when it can time to printing the findings.

Already thoroughly critiqued, apparently by lots of people who are squeamish about admitting the obvious and who prefer to concentrate 100 per cent of their nit picking on the semantics of "control".  There's no reason to get hung up over that, unless you're especially sensitive about anything that might make the 147 companies feel bad. 

A concentration of massive wealth in the hands of few, whether you call that "control" or "inequality" or "obscene" or "absurd" or "dangerous" or "meta disaster waiting to happen" - call it whatever you want, but don't pretend it's not meaningful, not real, not bad, and nothing to get your knickers in a knot about.  Your knickers should at the very least bunch-up a bit every time you think of it, if not, you're a bit, well, stupid, if you don't mind me saying.

The research paper is here and the list of companies is on page 33.